8 Best Things To Do In The Royal National Park: Sydney, Australia

My favorite things to do in the Royal National Park, just south of Sydney, Australia.

The Royal National Park is a true gem of New South Wales.

Located directly south of Sydney, it’s easily accessible from the city and from smaller towns along the South Coast.

The best way to get around is by car, so I recommend renting one if you’re traveling in Australia.

Once you have a car, get some comfortable walking shoes, a camera, and a bathing suit (or swimmers as the Aussies call them) and you are ready to explore the Royal National Park.

If you plan on spending the whole day, also bring snacks and water, as there aren’t many places to buy food in the park.

Driving through the Royal National Park is incredible, with towering eucalyptus and gum trees creating a canopy over the road.

Most hiking trails and lookout points are clearly labeled, though it can be helpful to have a GPS or to look up directions to a certain place beforehand as the internet is spotty here.

Most travelers are unsure of what to do in the Royal National Park, so I hope this article is helpful!

After a few years of visiting the park consistently, here are my favorite spots that I always recommend to others.

You can also check out the official Royal National Park website for more detailed information.

Things To Do In The Royal National Park of Sydney, Australia

Here are all the best things to do in the Royal National Park! From waterfalls, to hiking trails, to scenic lookouts, to campgrounds and more, this place is a nature lovers’ paradise!

Check out my ultimate guide to traveling Australia on a budget, or my list of the best day trips from Sydney for more ideas!

1. Admire the View from the Balconies

“The Balconies” is a long stretch of cliffs where erosion has caused the rocks to twist and curve into interesting formations.

The multiple rock layers look like little white and tan balconies resting on top of each other, all framed by the rich blue Pacific Ocean below.

Most people only pass through this area because it’s on the way to the Wedding Cake Rock, but I found this spot to have one of the most amazing views I’ve seen in NSW.

How To Get There:

Drive to the little town of Bundeena and follow signs for the Royal Coast Track.

Once you reach the end of the road, find street parking. Then follow the dirt trail and you’re right there!

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Jagged rocks at the Balconies, Royal National Park
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Coastal views from the Balconies

Looking to explore more of the city? Check out my list of non touristy things to do in Sydney!

2. See the Wedding Cake Rock

After passing the Balconies, continue on the Royal Coast Track for just under an hour. The pathway is relatively flat with a few inclines here and there, but the views stay impressive the entire way.

The Wedding Cake Rock is one of the most popular things to see in the Royal National Park, but you’ll find the actual rock has been recently fenced off.

You can see how the giant, chalky white slab appears to be detaching from the cliffside. So I guess it’s a safety precaution to keep tons of tourists from standing on the Wedding Cake Rock in case it were to tumble down.

The fence doesn’t always stop the occasional daredevil from jumping over the fence to get a close-up shot of the magnificent rock, however.

How To Get There:

Same as with the Balconies. Just continue walking further along the Royal Coast Track track until you see the Wedding Cake Rock!

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The Wedding Cake Rock is a highlight of the Royal National Park.
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Close up of the Wedding Cake Rock

3. Swim, Surf, and Hike at Garie Beach

Visiting the stunning Garie Beach is one of the best things to do in the Royal National Park!

It is incredibly popular among surfers, as the rippling waves can get pretty big here.

For those who don’t surf, you can head either north or south from the beach for a hiking trail that snakes up the surrounding hills and ends with spectacular views over the vibrant landscape.

Or just swim in the sea and sunbathe on the golden sand. Garie Beach is a gorgeous place for a beach day!

How To Get There:

Sir Bertram Stevens Drive is one of the main roads in the park. Garie Road branches east off this road. Just follow Garie Road all the way to the end until you reach the parking area for Garie Beach!

There is a $12 parking fee, and if you don’t pay it you might get fined.

Views while hiking to the South of Garie Beach, overlooking North Era Campground
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The start of the hiking trail south of Garie Beach

4. Camp at North Era Campground

North Era Campground is the perfect, peaceful, off-the-grid camping spot. in the Royal National Park.

There is a wide grassy area surrounded by dense forest on one side and clear, refreshing ocean on the other.

It’s free to camp here and you don’t need a reservation because there are no official campsites. But you’ll need to park your car at Garie Beach which is $12.

The only way to reach North Era Campground is by hiking over the hill south of Garie Beach. So pack light if you can!

That being said, pack plenty of food and water to last you as there are no facilities in the area.

Spend your time at North Era Campground swimming, snorkeling, walking along the coast, exploring the forest, having campfires, and enjoying the serenity of nature.

How To Get There:

Park at Garie Beach car park, then follow the hiking trail along the coast to the south.

After hiking over the hill that lies to the south of Garie Beach, continue on the path down the other side to find North Era Campground.

Once you arrive, camping here beside the lush forest is one of the best things to do in the Royal National Park.

Read Next: 1 Week In Sydney – Itinerary For The Outdoorsy Traveler

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Our little campsite at North Era Campground
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The beach at North Era Campground

5. Swim in the Figure 8 Pools

Anyone wondering what to do in the Royal National Park may have already heard of the Figure 8 Pools.

They are quite famous, and they are super accessible from Sydney!

But expect to share the pools with other tourists because this is probably the most Instagrammed spot in the Royal National Park.

This shockingly symmetrical natural rock pool is super refreshing to swim in, and if you go early enough there might not be any other tourists!

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Figure 8 Pools

The most important thing to note when visiting the Figure 8 Pools is that you have to visit at low tide.

The pools are set in a wide rock platform with the ocean just a few meters away.

Not only are the pools hidden under the ocean at high tide, but the waves can crash over the rock platform and make the area dangerous and slippery.

At low tide, however, the area is very calm.

How To Get There:

To reach the Figure 8 Pools, park at Garrawarra Farm Car Park, and follow the clearly marked signs.

The hike takes you through a pretty steep forest track, across Burning Palms beach, and over lots of rocks.

One way the hike takes about 1.5 hours, and just remember to always be careful when walking along the rocks.

Check out my article, Best Tips For Visiting The Figure Eight Pools for more information!

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The rocks and cliffs surrounding the Figure 8 Pools
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Burning Palms Beach, you have to hike across the whole thing to reach the Figure 8 Pools

6. Cliff Jump at Wattamolla Beach

Wattamolla Beach is an epic location for a fun day with friends in the summertime.

A little lagoon lined with sandy beaches provides space for relaxation, and a 6-meter-high jump rock sits beside the water.

People are always jumping off the Wattamolla Cliffs, paddleboarding in the calm water, having picnics in the spacious grounds, or exploring the nearby waterfalls.

I definitely recommend coming to Wattamolla on a hot day with food, music, and friends, as this is one of the most fun things to do in the Royal National Park.

How To Get There:

Drive to the Wattamolla Car Park. The jump rock is right next to it; you can’t miss it.

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View of Wattamolla Beach from the top of the jump rock

7. Hike to Curracurrong Falls and Eagle Rock

This relaxing hike is an easy way to spend a morning in the Royal National Park.

Curracurrong Creek runs through the Royal National Park and ends with a waterfall that falls into the ocean.

It’s rare to find waterfalls into the ocean, and there are actually 2 here!

Next to Curracurrong Falls is Eagle Rock. This large rock formation looks like an eagle’s head.

The walk starts at Wattamolla Car Park and takes about 1 hour to reach Eagle Rock. Curracurrong Falls is just past Eagle Rock.

It’s part of the same Royal Coast Track that goes through Garie, so you could walk the entire thing if you want!

How To Get There:

Park at Wattamolla Car Park (in the p5 lot at the top of the car park).

Then just follow the walking track. It’s clearly marked and runs all the way down the coast.

Read next: 23 Stunning Waterfalls Near Sydney

One of the ocean waterfalls next to Curracurrong Falls
Eagle Rock

8. Hike to Winifred Falls

Venturing inland, there are lots more hiking trails and natural attractions away from the coast.

Winifred Falls is a small waterfall with a large pool at the bottom. It is surrounded by peaceful bush and is rarely crowded.

There is a short, 30-minute hike that leads to this secluded waterfall. It’s pretty easy, although there is one steep section.

Enjoy a peaceful afternoon at Winifred Falls!

How To Get There:

Drive into the Royal National Park via Sir Bertram Stevens Drive. Turn onto Warumbal Road and park on the side of the road when you see the sign for the Winifred Falls Firetrail.

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So those are my favorite things to do in the Royal National Park, Sydney!

This is a truly beautiful spot, and there are so many fun things to do in the Royal National Park that I haven’t even done yet. Travelers in Sydney should definitely spend a day here.

For more inspiration, check out: 15 BEST DAY TRIPS FROM SYDNEY

A few other things to note before traveling to the Royal National Park and Australia:


You will need a visa to enter Australia. If you’re just visiting, apply for your tourist visa online before you go. Visit iVisa.com to get your visa online!

If you want to stay in Australia for longer and maybe get a one-year work visa, check out my Guide To Working Holiday Visas In Australia (First and Second Year).

Travel Insurance

You should always get travel insurance for a trip abroad, especially if you’ll be hiking or jumping off cliffs. You want to be covered in case of an accident!

I always recommend Squaremouth Insurance. You can browse lots of different pans to find the perfect one for you. I used them while traveling and had a great experience with them. (Read more about that in my Budget Traveler’s Guide to Travel Insurance!)

For more travel inspiration around Sydney, check out these articles!

NSW South Coast Road Trip Guide

25 Best Things To Do In Sydney (Free, Cheap, and Expensive)

5 Amazing Day Hikes in the Blue Mountains

Best Time To Visit Australia: An Ultimate Guide

15 Best Things To Do In Wollongong

Sydney to Melbourne Road Trip: The Ultimate Travel Guide

12 Fun Things To Do In Port Stephens, NSW


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2 thoughts on “8 Best Things To Do In The Royal National Park: Sydney, Australia

  1. Wayne Silva

    I first hiked the RNP with my dad in 1961 even back then I knew what magic the park was. At 70 yrs. Old I still tramp around the park.

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